SLR v SA80 the results are in

The SLR came straight out of the box as is...how many iterations of the SA80 ?

There could have numerous upgrades for the SLR but, the powers that be decided to go for the Airsofter with the bendy bayonet. The real kicker to all the Airsoft fans was "There has been found to be a need for a longer range section rifle in Afghanistan" and the calibre chosen was ???? 7.62,who'da thought ?
The SLR throughout its service life was rarely bitched about and did its job, leaving soldiers to bitch about everything else of course and having served with both, the SA-80 was not at all trusted and soldiers were still bitching about it in the noughties (so I'm told).

The calibre for me was always the real underlying debate and I think Soldiers of any army liked the idea of a heavier round in combat. but since when do you ever get to choose anything in the services.
 
I like to dream about the days of pokey drill with the SLR and fantasise about how much greater it was, but if I'm honest, the L85 was a much more comfortable weapon (that sling!) to use on exercise and stuff.

I did hate a few things about it, mainly the necessity of pushing the working parts forward after cocking otherwise you risked it having a stoppage (or jamming if you prefer ;)).

Loved the SUSAT sight, a real bit of Star Wars kit for me at the time.
Yeah a shit design necessitating "forward assist" those were the early days though before we payed HK to sort it all out. As a REMF we only got it in iron sights and in comparison to SLR it was a bag of shit. I think we were nearly the last place to get it. Just didn't feel like a real weapon. SLR gave you confidence, wasn't made of bean tins and plasticene.
 
Really? I'm sure I remember about 30 modifications and god knows how many Misc Instructions pertaining to the SLR.....

As for the rest of your post, you would be wise to remember that it's not often that any war is the same as the last one.
Then you have a better memory than I...my personal weapon from 65 to 87.

As for your closing remark...as ever was but,you use the tools you have. That still doesn't negate my comments.
 
At least 60 Countries used the FN FAL or one of it's variants back in the day l believe.

Rumour has it that the Viet Cong were more afraid of Australian Troops armed with their FN FAL Rifles than the were of the Americans and their M-16s.
The Australian Army, whether in Vietnam or not, used the SLR L1A1, produced under licence at Lithgow Small Arms factory, NSW.
 

TamH70

MIA
@TamH70 - a 'Dislike'?

Why was that?

Sorry, Dislike was probably too harsh. I will remove it when I can find the post.

When I was in, no one ever called the L85 A1 the L85 A1 unless a particularly officious young sprog of an officer was around. It was always the SA80, or "The Rifle", when that directive came in and when people could be bothered calling it that. My impressions of the thing were formed at the start by seeing a whole armoury full of them in Barry Buddon that were in bits. Literally bits. And these were brand new rifles.
 

DaManBugs

LE
Book Reviewer
Squaddies always gripe about something, I’ll bet there’s scribbled notes out there with penny blacks on them!
I'd wager there are also a fair few written on parchment.

MsG
 

TamH70

MIA
What the Penny Blacks or an Enfield? :rofl:

Get a Penny Black, sell it, and use the proceeds to buy an Enfield. I'm not sure that you could do that process in reverse though.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
I recall a press junket to Pirbright Ranges where a housewife was put through her paces and otherwise average shots achieved Marksman for the first time. These soldiers had been trained on the SLR, gaining their marksmanship skills there. I was subsequently told that the level of training in that marksmanship was dumbed down as no longer necessary, however the SA80 was no magic rifle and the pass rate at the APWT shrank accordingly once the SLR was gone (?)
The lack of investment in marksmanship has very little to do with the SA80 - it's been shamefully neglected for decades by the British infantry (and the rest of the Army), and we only have ourselves to blame. All the inherent accuracy of the L85 & L86 did was slightly mask the poor standards for a while. And from what I hear it continues to be the case; it certainly was four years ago when I finally handed in my ID card.

Additionally, let us not forget the uselessness of the thing in Gulf War 1. SLR's taken from rear echelon's and pushed up to the front.
Old wives' tale AFAIK. I don't remember ANY SLRs taken from support units and given to infantry on OP GRANBY. And I would have noticed! Nor have I heard of it happening.

Alas the rear echelon 9mm had been largely sold off so the TA stocks were swifted away
Just like the Falklands war when GPMGs, 81mm mortars, Clansman radios and sniper rifles were stripped out of TA armouries for the taskforce, parts were being stripped from gate guardians to keep Vulcans flying, and .50 Browning HMGs were "borrowed" from museums. Shock horror - UK unprepared for war!

more had to be purchased from abroad (the lowest bidder, naturally) and that was bought from India, only to be found substandard, towed into the North Sea on a barge, and sunk.

Definitely an old wives' tale, a conflation of old NAAFI rumours and crap lager. The Indian "9mm curry puff" ammo fiasco occurred in the 70s. IIRC (@dingerr will probably know) , most of the 9mm ammo we were issued in '91 was manufactured by IMI - Israeli Military Industries. And kosher ammo works.

General Sir Michael 'Two Face' Jackson, Tony Blair's yes-guy, appeared on TV and explained that the stoppages were the men's fault, not the SA80. All that was required was for it to be stripped and cleaned each time.
"Under fire?" asked the interviewer.......
Far be it from me to stop a good rant, but Mike Jackson was a Brigadier commanding 39 Bde in Lisburn 90-92, and Blair was a Labour MP in opposition.

As for stoppages in the desert, yes there was a problem as the rifle doesn't run well dry, but with regular lubrication and cleaning (ie: assaulting armoured inf: every time they got back in the Warriors) stoppages could be reduced massively.

The L85A1 wasn't a wunderwaffe, but it wasn't awful either.
Zee Germans, charged a lot of dosh to make it fit for purpose, of course.
Worth every penny IMHO, the L85A2 IS a wunderwaffe, very accurate, ridiculously reliable and far better performing than pretty much any other rifle in some very arduous trials.

Says much for the capability of the general staff and MOD, of course
I'd say that the excellent decision to modify the SA80 fleet overly flatters the MOD, and the General Staff; were it not for the leaking of the LANDSET report* and the poor PR being directed at the Army by the as-usual misinformed and sensationalist press like chimps flinging sh1t, it's doubtful that the A2 would ever have existed.



* Having read the LANDSET report some years ago, I came away with the impression that it was overly pessimistic and damning of the SA80 family, and if the HK designed A2 hadn't been adopted, we would have soldiered on with an okay instead of a superlative rifle.
 
I learnt to shoot wearing puttees, firing the .303 SMLE & I got range time with the SLR & SA80 before leaving the cadets in mid 1980s

From first picking up the SA80 c.1986 to the last time I fired one in 2012, the comment I kept muttering under my breath was:

"But it's a .22"
I learned to shoot courtesy of Dad (pistol and rifle); then the No.4 rifle with the cadets; then the SLR with the cadets and TA, and the SLR, LMG, GPMG, and SMG with the TA, all the way to Bisley (five or six trips to TASAM carrying L1A1, and a few afterwards carrying L85A1)

Our battalion converted to SA80, and I thought it was brilliant - not just for gravelbellies like me, but for the average soldier with average marksmanship skills. Suddenly, people who couldn't hit a cow in the arse with a banjo, suddenly turned into competent shots. The 300m targets on the ETR started falling over rather more often. The APWT pass rates went up, and soldiers were no longer "slightly apprehensive" (a bit gunshy) after a few months away from live firing.

We were now carrying 180 ready rounds, not 80 (anyway, the stripper clips and magazine charger made reloading a doddle). "Ammunition coming in bandoliers" was lightyears beyond "here are some cardboard boxes".

Pokey drill disappeared from the pamphlet (Yay!), because now your wrist didn't have to do anywhere near as much work to hold up the rifle when reloading. Oh, and my glasses didn't get chipped (just below line of sight under my right eye) by a rearsight whenever someone handed me an SLR with a medium butt, rather than the extra-long that fitted me.

Offer me a choice between No.4, SLR, and L85? I'll take the L85, thanks.
 
the pass rate at the APWT shrank accordingly once the SLR was gone (?)
Not in my experience. The APWT got a lot harder once the SLR was gone - you had to pass at each phase (not just a total), there was more emphasis on standing / kneeling positions (you could just about pass the SLR APWT prone-only)

SLR's taken from rear echelon's and pushed up to the front.
Myth. Look at the Armoured Infantry Battlegroups - all the rifle platoons carrying SA80, not an SLR to be seen.

Alas the rear echelon 9mm had been largely sold off so the TA stocks were swifted away and more had to be purchased from abroad (the lowest bidder, naturally) and that was bought from India, only to be found substandard, towed into the North Sea on a barge, and sunk.
Incorrect sequence of event. The crap 9mm was a late 1970s / early 1980s thing, and possibly due to corruption; in 1988 I was teaching SMG drills from the pamphlet for "you hear an abnormal sound when firing" that involved looking down the barrel to verify that it was clear... but by then all of the junk 9mm was long gone.
 
I learned to shoot courtesy of Dad (pistol and rifle); then the No.4 rifle with the cadets; then the SLR with the cadets and TA, and the SLR, LMG, GPMG, and SMG with the TA, all the way to Bisley (five or six trips to TASAM carrying L1A1, and a few afterwards carrying L85A1)

Our battalion converted to SA80, and I thought it was brilliant - not just for gravelbellies like me, but for the average soldier with average marksmanship skills. Suddenly, people who couldn't hit a cow in the arse with a banjo, suddenly turned into competent shots. The 300m targets on the ETR started falling over rather more often. The APWT pass rates went up, and soldiers were no longer "slightly apprehensive" (a bit gunshy) after a few months away from live firing.

We were now carrying 180 ready rounds, not 80 (anyway, the stripper clips and magazine charger made reloading a doddle). "Ammunition coming in bandoliers" was lightyears beyond "here are some cardboard boxes".

Pokey drill disappeared from the pamphlet (Yay!), because now your wrist didn't have to do anywhere near as much work to hold up the rifle when reloading. Oh, and my glasses didn't get chipped (just below line of sight under my right eye) by a rearsight whenever someone handed me an SLR with a medium butt, rather than the extra-long that fitted me.

Offer me a choice between No.4, SLR, and L85? I'll take the L85, thanks.

Everything you said, including the bloody line of chips up the lens of my glasses one day which caused great hilarity amongst the range staff.

Shall we now move gentlemen?
 
I guess a main consideration is the real back-to-back comparison for most was they did years with the SLR, then were handed the A1 SA80 - as was I. It was pooh, accurate when it worked and the mag hadn't fallen off, otherwise it didn't instil confidence. Op Granby did little to change that, and I can't recall Bos & Kos changing anyone's mind either.

Perhaps if they went directly from the SLR to the A3, the conversation would be quite different.

Was there any standard issue kit that was decent in the 80's & 90's for the average Squaddie, remembering that lower down the food chain 58 webbing was still standard stuff for lots and BCH were wrecking people's feet for fun?
 

Latest Threads

Top